SKYDIVE Dubai Pro Cycling Team has added much needed colour to the 50th anniversary edition of Jelajah Malaysia which kicks-off this weekend when the first stage is held from Seremban 2 to Port Dickson (150.3km).
And watch out for Spaniard Francisco Mancebo, 38, one of the better known names in the pro continental team which has set its sights on winning the overall title in the five-stage race which has attracted 15 teams.
Mancebo is not only excited to make his second visit to Malaysia but also delighted that Stage 3 of the Jelajah Malaysia will include historic Malacca as it holds fond memories for him.
He first stepped on Malaysian soil in April this year when he competed in the Malacca Governor’s Cup. He could only finish fifth in that race but Mancebo believes that he can help his team can strike it rich in Jelajah Malaysia.
Stage Two on Sunday from Nilai to Jempol will cover 152.7km while Stage Three from Nilai to Alor Gajah on Monday at 175km long is the longest. Stage Four (Tuesday) covers 143km is from Paroi to Putrajaya.
The Jelajah Malaysia ends on Wednesday with a 150.3km hilly terrain which will take the riders in a loop around Kuala Klawang in Negri Sembilan.
“It is winter back home but to come to Malaysia and compete in a major race after a month’s training would not have come at a better time. I have heard much about Jelajah Malaysia and it is good to be competing with a team that I believe will be able to go for the overall title,” said Mancebo.
Mancebo achieved several successes in his cycling career this year.
He won the Spanish Mountain Bike Marathon, was the overall winner of Tour of Kumano after winning Stage Two.
This year he was third overall in Tour of Thailand.
The Spaniard also won the 5-Hour Energy in 2013. In the 2005 Vuelta a Espana, he won one stage.
Apart from Mancebo, Skydive Dubai is a multi-national team made up of riders from Morocco, Turkey, Moldovia, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates. The Moroccans are Soufiane Haddi and Adil Jeuloul, Chtioui Rafaa (Tunisia), Meher Hasnaoui (Turkey), Mohammed Al Murawwi (UAE).
According to Mancebo, Haddi comes with strong credentials and won one stage in the Sharjah Tour. Haddi also competed in the 2012 London Olympics.
Of the local teams Malaysia, Terengganu Cycling Team, Majlis Sukan Negara, and Terengganu top the chart.
The other teams are Pegasus Continental Cycling Team (Indonesia), Uzbekistan, Brunei Darussalam, St George Merida Cycling Team (Australia), Hong Kong National Team, Lapierre Asia Cycling Team (made up of riders from Malaysia and Singapore).
Other local teams are Negri Sembilan, Police and Monton Pahang.